There was a different feel in the air after watching Shen and Zhao write another chapter in their extraordinary love story Monday night by winning gold for China and ending Russia’s 48-year reign in Olympic pairs figure skating.
Coming into the Vancouver games, the U.S. seemed to have a legitimate chance for a gold medal in men’s figure skating for the first time in over a decade. Led by 2009 World Champion Evan Lysacek, the American team came into the Vancouver games with three skaters capable of greatness, but certainly none of them are strangers to disappointment.
The sight of Russian vulnerability in the sport they have dominated for so long Monday night intensified hopes. Would defending gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko rise to the occasion or would the men from Team USA skate away with their first gold medal since Brian Boitano brought home gold from the Calgary games in 1988?